Brown grip, black barreled Citadel 9mm, barrel pointed down on a white background

Range Report: Citadel 9mm 1911 Handgun

I think we all agree that the 1911 handgun is among the most recognized and combat-effective handguns of all time. We also agree the 1911 is not for everyone. If cocked-and-locked carry and the need for frequent cleaning and lubrication are not something you feel like you can live with, then a GLOCK or revolver is a better choice. And the 1911 appeals to many shooters, and accommodations exist for most of us.

Silver/gray compact RIA and a reddish dirt background, muzzle pointed down and to the left

Rock Island Armory’s Latest .45, the Tactical II

I have enjoyed good service with the Rock Island brand of 1911 handguns. The pistols are true to the original format and fire the authoritative.45 ACP cartridge. Armscor manufactures these handguns in the Philippine Islands. The original pistols were straight-up GI versions of the 1911, although there are also elevated examples with good features, including tactical-grade sights and improved grips.

Black SIG P290 with boxes of ammo on a wood plank background

SIG’s Light 9mm, the P290

You should think carefully about the reasons for choosing a handgun. I do my best to test and review appropriate defensive handguns. And although the pistols may not be your choices, they are reasonable choices. With the explosion of concealed carry permits, many are carrying pocket pistols that give them more comfort than performance.

The SIG P226 Navy Model

Range Report: The Navy Model P226, MK 25

As a writer, I do my dead-level best to test and evaluate every firearm that crosses my desk in a professional manner, including extensive range testing. Many of the commercial firearms are new and unproven, even when based on a proven handgun design. Every modification and new idiom must be proofed. Occasionally, I encounter a firearm that is proven more so than the rest. And then, there are the legends. For legends, there is little I may do to add or detract from the firearm’s reputation with my own test program. That is the case with the Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 or Navy Model.

Black Rock Island compact 1911 on a gray-and-white woven background, barrel pointed to the right.

Range Report — Rock Island Compact 1911

Is there a best personal defense handgun? I doubt it; the competition is fierce, and many handguns have their good points. We also have personal needs and personal worst-case scenarios. As long as the handgun is a quality design, well executed with good reliability and is accurate and powerful enough for the task, the rest is up to you. My personal favorite carry gun is the 1911 single-action self-loader in .45 ACP. There are many variants, and while some are ironmongery, many are well made of good material.

Blue-toned box of Liberty 45 Acp + P ammunition with cartridges toward the front of the picture on a plank of wood.

Liberty Ammunition Range Report

When it comes to personal defense ammunition, the first criterion to meet is reliability. This criterion is closely followed by accuracy, clean burning and a good primer seal. That is the bottom line. No ballistic advantage is worth pursuing if the ammunition is not completely reliable.